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They Thought it Was a Marvel: Arthur Melbourne-Cooper (1874-1961), Pioneer of Puppet Animation (Pallas Publications) [Hardcover]

Tjitte de Vries , Ati Mul

Price: £32.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

9 Feb 2014 Pallas Publications
In a world obsessed with 'firsts', this fascinating book with its accompanying DVD analyses the stop-motion films made by the British pioneer filmmaker Arthur Melbourne-Cooper, arguably the maker of the first ever animation, MATCHES APPEAL, dating from 1899, in which an animated matchstick writes out on a blackboard an appeal to the British audience urging them to donate money to subsidise shipments of matches to the troops fighting in the Boer War in South Africa. If this dating of the film is correct, it would make it the first-ever animated film shown in cinemas, years ahead of the known early animations, and long before Walt Disney was born. Drawing on a wealth of archival material, frame-by-frame analysis, as well as interviews with Melbourne-Cooper and his family and associates, this book argues convincingly in favour of this early dating of MATCHES APPEAL, and sketches an unforgettable portrait of animation's early days, while being a vital contribution to the history of early cinema. The DVD of the six surviving animation films made by Melbourne-Cooper is a wonderful revelation of what early cinema-going audiences saw and marvelled at.

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Review

A huge contribution to film history. David Cleveland, film historian Staggering in its detail, uit makes the reader sit up and realise this is not going to be just another boring academic text. (...) Because of the unusual interest of both authors in the subject, the study is way over and above that of any other academic writing on the subject. Anthony Slide, film historian

From the Inside Flap

Dit prikkelende en rijk geïllustreerde boek (met DVD) staat geheel in het teken van de maker van de eerste animatiefilm: de Britse filmpionier Arthur Melbourne-Cooper.

Stamt de eerste animatiefilm nou uit 1906, of uit 1908? Werd deze film in Frankrijk gemaakt, of nu juist in de Verenigde Staten? In dit prikkelende en rijk geïllustreerde boek, komen de twee auteurs tot de conclusie dat de eerste stop-motion-animatie film al uit 1899 stamt. Deze film 'Matches Appeal' werd gemaakt door de Britse filmpionier Arthur Melbourne-Cooper (1874-1961). Hiermee ging hij de animatiepioniers J. Stuart Blackton met 'Humorous Phases of Funny Faces' (1906), en Emile Cohl met zijn 'Fantasmagorie' (1909) voor.
Slechts zes van de 36 animatiefilms die door Cooper werden gemaakt, zijn bewaard gebleven. Maar deze films maken hem tot de voorloper in een lange traditie van poppen- en objectanimators; van Wladyslaw Starewicz tot aan Henry Selick met zijn recente meesterwerk 'Coraline'.
In het bewaard gebleven 'Matches Appeal', schildert een houten poppetje met verf een oproep op een muur voor de soldaten in de Boerenoorlog van 1899-1902. Twee andere poppenanimatiefilms uit dezelfde tijd bestaan ook nog steeds: 'Animated Matches Playing Volleybal', en 'Animated Matches Playing Cricket', beide parodieën op populaire sporten van die tijd.
Op de begeleidende DVD is duidelijk te zien dat de films frame voor frame zijn gemaakt.

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